Monday, March 1, 2010

Meet the Maker Monday: Cutesy but not Cutesy

Plush designer Diane Koss of Philadelphia masterminds Cutesy but not Cutesy. Her works are wonderfully sculptural and she makes wicked antlers! Get the inside stuffing on Diane’s craft here, and be sure to check out her shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/dkoss2


Tell us about your process of making plush items.

When I get an idea, I just grab my scissors and start cutting. There's something incredibly freeing about working this way. I don't use patterns or machines. Everything is stitched by hand, which is time-consuming, but people appreciate the fact that items are made with just a needle and thread. I use black thread so people can see every stitch.

Where did you learn your plushmaking skills?

Sewing is in my blood. My grandmother always had some kind of sewing project going on. She used to make wonderfully sweet pillows and teach us to make hair "scrunchies". My grandfather used to work with his mother sewing clothing by hand, as well. I went to art school and learned a lot about color theory and developed an eye for design.

Describe your workspace.

I live in a two-bedroom apartment over a garden store. One bedroom is designated as my studio but it's become my cutting room for furs. I usually work in my living room so I can listen to music, watch a movie or eavesdrop on the shoppers in the store below. I can take my sewing with me wherever I go because all I need is a needle and thread. This makes for opportunities to sew in some very unlikely places ... in the car (as the passenger), on a plane, in an airport, on a train, on a park bench, and behind my monster displays at craft shows.


Discuss your inspirations—plushy, artistic, musical, personal ….

Every time I see people pushing their limits, stretching their creativity and ability to be the best at what they do, a fire lights in me. People doing what they love and working hard to see their dreams come true inspire me most—artists in music, art or writing who have started businesses from the ground up. I love picking up a new design magazine or discovering new and interesting music on a blog and I stumble across inspirations on Etsy and other great online sites.

How do you promote your work?

I use social networking tools like facebook, twitter, myspace, and blogger. I do craft shows and hand out tons of business cards and postcards. Sometimes just being in the right place at the right time is promotion enough, so I take advantage of opportunities to travel to new places and meet new people.

How do you fit plush-making into the rest of your life?

Plush making is my life. I am a full time plush designer and I have no marriage or family yet to split my time with. Sometimes during the busy craft show seasons I’m working all the time. My friends and family have to remind me to take a break to stay sane. When I'm not sewing, I like to go for a good hike in the woods, try out new restaurants or catch up with friends. I am fortunate to have friends and family who understand that my hard work is paying off, so they have yet to disown me for being a bad friend when I get overwhelmed with work!

Describe your dreams for new designs or projects.

I try to come up with a new product or design at the start of each year. During the holiday season I collaborated with my sister, Robin Koss, the illustrator behind Wind Up Bird Studios ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/rkoss ) on prints for my monsters. Also, I started making hand-painted dishware with my monsters on them and I’m working on new screen-printed t-shirts for all ages.

I look forward to doing larger, more detailed sculptural work for gallery shows each year. I have a BIG plan in the works but it's remaining a secret until I can get off to a good start!


Which other makers do you admire and why?

It's hard to choose from so many amazing designers! I admire the Plush Team for its members’ hard work and inspirational words. I am an avid collector of designer toys and plush. Check out my favorites on Etsy to see the pieces and people that I admire most!

What advice can you give makers who dabble in plushiness?

Do what you love, and love what you do. The rest will fall into place. If you're passionate about what you're making, others will be passionate about it, too. If you want to make it, just do it. People will come.

Want to spend more time with Diane Koss’s Cutesy but not Cutesy? She’s on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cutesybutnotcutesy

on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dkoss2

on Blogger: http://dkoss2.blogspot.com/

and on Flickr, too! : http://www.flickr.com/photos/dkoss2

4 comments:

Francine said...

Adorable!! simply love this blog. thanks for sharing.

love from Argentina,
Frani
www.iknitts.com

Felicia said...

Super fabulous! I agree that those antlers are totally wicked. Can't wait to see what big project you're working on :)

Lowell and Son said...

Wow, I am so impressed that you sew completely by hand. It was great to learn more about you.

dingogirl66 said...

The antlers you create are awesome, I love the stitching...Those little cupcakes are the cutest things ever!!!

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